Big bats, Gold Glove defense and solid pitching have the Honesdale lads in first place.
Local diamond fans were treated to a wildly entertaining game Thursday night at St. Vincent's Field.
This early season Wayne County Men's Softball League clash between Invisible Hunter and Joe's Ranch House had something for everyone.
There was Gold Glove defense, power hitting and stellar pitching. Yes, these two teams battled one another (and the early summer heat) through seven sweltering innings before a victor finally emerged.
In the end, the slugging of Joel and Jeremy Watson proved to be the ultimate difference in an 8-6 triumph for Invisible Hunter.
With this win, the local lads improved their regular season record to 6-1. Joe's Ranch House fell to 4-2 on the year.
Invisible Hunter is now slated for an off-week, while the Ranch House returns to action Tuesday night at The Crossroads.
On the Hill
Wayne County Sports Hall of Famer Bob Bunnell took the hill as Invisible Hunter's starting pitcher.
"Reggie" worked five solid frames before handing the ball off to Ron Hendershot, who earned a save with two shutout innings of relief.
Offensively, Invisible Hunter broke the scoring ice with three runs in the bottom of the first.
Mead Sandercock ignited this first uprising with a two out double. Moments later, he was trotting home thanks to a towering homerun by Joel Watson.
Wyatt Davis followed with a single off Ranch House starter John Blockberger. Wade Rickard then made it 3-0 with an RBI triple to left center.
Jeremy Watson added to the lead in the bottom of the second, ripping a solo homer of his own over the fence in left.
The Ranch House bats finally came to life in the middle innings.
Blockberger got his team on the board with a long homerun to left center. And, three pitches later, Tim "T-Pot" Shelton made it back-to-back jacks when he took Bunnell deep as well.
A large and appreciative crowd huddled in the shade of trees for this one, held in the midst of an uncommon 90-degree May day.
These hardy fans were rewarded for their perseverance by several dazzling defensive plays.
Invisible Hunter closed out the top of the first with a scintillating double play.
Max Van Gorder made a spectacular tumbling catch of a flyball in deep center. He then bounced to his feet and hit Sandercock with a perfect relay.
The Invisible Hunter shortstop promptly wheeled and fired a laserbeam strike to Dylan Van Gorder at the plate, who applied the tag to a sliding Jace Williams.
Victor Rivero brought Ranch House fans to their feet with a spectacular play of his own in the fourth.
A former football star at Honesdale, the scrappy second baseman dove to his right and robbed Ryan Hiller of a certain basehit.
Rivero then scrambled to the bag to complete an inning ended double play.
Down to the Wire
Chad Schuman got his team back in contention in the top of the fourth.
Ranch House's tough-as-nails catcher legged out a hustle double to open the frame. Williams joined him on the basepaths with a sharp single and both came sprinting home courtesy of Mike Krupa's 2-run double.
Shelton followed with an RBI two-bagger of his own and suddenly the visitors had nearly erased a once daunting deficit.
Hendershot came on for Bunnell in the top of the sixth and effectively silenced Ran House Bate.
Ron allowed just one baserunner in the sixth and worked a 1-2-3 seventh to earn the save.
Score by Innings...
RH (4-2) 0 0 2 4 0 0 0 - 6
IH (6-1) 3 1 3 0 0 1 x - 8